30.05.14 Exploring the Lewes Downs

, 03 June 2014

Each year we join Sussex Wildlife Trust's Steve Tillman who manages the SWT reserves at Malling Down and Southerham for a guided walk over the Lewes Downs.

Steve knows all about the wildlife, management and history of the site and provided an interesting commentary on our hike from Lewes to Saxon Down, Mount Caburn, Oxteddle Bottom and back.

Hiking the Lewes Downs
Hiking the Lewes Downs

This year has been another great year for orchids and Steve is particularly proud that burnt orchid has been re-discovered at Southerham after an absence of about a decade.

The return of the burnt orchids
The fabled burnt orchidsof Southerham

Though the weather wasn't as sunny as we'd hoped it did mean that the butterflies of Bible Bottom weren't as energetic as usual. I even managed to sneak up on anAdonis blue.

Adonis blue on dropwort.
Adonis blue on dropwort.

After lunch on Mount Caburn we headed through the floral rich valley at Caburn Bottom which held a lovely display of orchids and other Downland flowers. Yvonne spotted a bank of beautifulbee orchids which I had walked past without even noticing.

bee orchid
bee orchid

...But I did spot Volucella zonaria our biggest hoverfly which does a pretty good impression of a bee too.

Volucella zonaria
Volucella zonaria

Thanks to Steve Tillman for leading the walk and to all those who attended.

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